Food critic Richard Gorelick's list of 100 best restaurants, in Baltimore and the surrounding counties, reflects the wide spectrum of choices available to diners, from mom and pop storefronts to waterfront extravaganzas. The best restaurants have little in common, other than the proven ability to consistently please their customers.
Take a look at a sortable list of the region's top restaurants below. You can click on a category to sort the list; click again to invert the sorting order. To get more information about an individual restaurant, click on its name.
- Interactive map of Baltimore's best bars and restaurants
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- Baltimore's 100 best bars [Pictures]
|1||The Prime Rib||Mt. Vernon||Steakhouse||$$$$|
|2||Woodberry Kitchen||Woodberry||American (New)||$$$|
2010 Clipper Park Road, 410-464-8000
The food, setting and service work together to create big, sexy evenings of pleasure at Amy and Spike Gjerde's unique farm-to-table restaurant. Everything is calibrated to bring intense sensual enjoyment to every guest's experience. Read our 2008 review.
|3||Charleston||Harbor East||American (New)||$$$$|
1000 Lancaster St., 410-332-7373
The subtle and buttery pleasures of Cindy Wolf's Low Country cuisine simmer over the course of a long evening at this gorgeously maintained restaurant. Passionate attention to detail is what shines most brightly at Charleston, a destination for anyone who cares about fine dining. Read more.
|4||Peter's Inn||Fells Point||American (New)||$$|
|5||Jack's Bistro||Canton||American (New)||$$|
3123 Elliott St., 410-878-6542
Ted Stelzenmuller and his gang prepare fearless food for a devoted following. There might a burger made entirely out of bacon or a creme brulee made out of durian. But you won't still find a better $20 steak in Baltimore than the grilled Argentine steak. Read more.
822 Lancaster St., 410-547-8282
It's a pleasure to work your way through Julian Marucci's menu, which has been inspired by Northern Italian cuisine but comes across as wholly original. The food, beautifully and simply presented, consistently delivers complex and surprising flavors. Read more in our review.
806 N. Charles St., 410-752-0311
It's been almost 25 years now that Qayum Karzai's beloved Mount Vernon restaurant has been treating Baltimoreans to exquisite and delectable Afghan cuisine. Memorable dishes include sauteed baby pumpkin and leek-filled ravioli topped with ground beef and mint. Read our 2008 review.
|8||Salt||Upper Fells Point||American (New)||$$$|
|9||Petit Louis||Roland Park||French||$$$|
|10||Aldo's Ristorante Italiano||Little Italy||Italian||$$$|
|11||Fleet Street Kitchen||Harbor East||American (New)||$$$|
1012 Fleet St., Harbor East, 410-244-5830
You'd have to look long and hard to come up with a false move at the new Fleet Street Kitchen. This is a farm-to-table restaurant free of affectations. Instead, local and seasonal ingredients are the building blocks of seriously captivating cuisine. Read more in our review.
|12||Ouzo Bay||Harbor East||Greek||$$$$|
|13||Linwoods||Owings Mills||American (New)||$$$|
|14||Waterfront Kitchen||Fells Point||American (New)||$$$|
1417 Thames St., 443-681-5310
A lovely and rewarding waterfront restaurant, and a model of sophisticated understatement. A straightforward and compact "spirited American dining" menu is executed with quiet precision by chef de cuisine Levi Briggs. The dining room, from Patrick Sutton, is serenely beautiful. Read more in our review.
|15||Thames Street Oyster House||Fells Point||Seafood||$$|
1728 Thames St., 443-449-7726
It its second year, Thames Street continues to hit all the right notes, as an exemplary raw bar, contemporary seafood bistro and neighborhood gathering spot. The menu has just enough flair to engage serious diners but plenty of homespun and casual options, too. Read more in our review.
|16||Dogwood Restaurant||Hampden||American (New)||$$$|
911 W. 36th St., 410-889-0952
In full blossom, this charming Hampden restaurant is serious about its commitment to sustainability and community development. For diners, Galen Sampson's classic preparations of American cuisine make doing the right thing a pleasure. Read our 2010 review.
850 W. 36th Street, 443-869-5075
The kitchen, under executive chef Bernard Dehaene, creates hearty Belgian-inspired food that feels perfectly at home in the at this polished and comforting Hampden hideaway. The major selling point — The Corner BYOB is unlike any other restaurant in Baltimore. Read more in our review.
|18||Oregon Grille||Hunt Valley||Steakhouse||$$$$|
1201 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, 410-771-0505
A hit from the day it opened, the horse-country farmhouse celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. Admired for its tenderly treated dry-aged steaks and deep wine list, Ted Bauer's steakhouse is the rare dining icon that maintains its own highest standards. Read more.
|19||The Food Market||Hampden||American (New)||$$|
1017 W. 36th St., 410-366-0606
The new Hampden hot spot from Chad Gauss established itself as a favorite in no time flat. Gauss works an accessible menu with enough playful moments to hold a diner's interest, and with partner Elan Kotz, he's given diners something else they want: a big, wide space to crowd themselves into. Read more in our review.
|20||Gertrude's||Charles Village||American (New)||$$|
10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore Museum of Art
The airy and invigorating restaurant space at the Baltimore Museum of Art supplies the perfect frame for John Shields' flavorful and original interpretations of Maryland cuisine. North African and Asian flavors feel perfectly at home with Chesapeake heritage recipes. Read more.
|21||Bistro Blanc||Glenelg||American (New)||$$$|
3800 Ten Oaks Road, Glenelg
Part wine bar, part restaurant, this out-of-the-way haven in western Howard County is a fine showcase for the cutting-edge culinary talents of Marc Dixon, whose stylish food draws diners from Baltimore and Washington. Read our 2009 review.
|22||Tapas Teatro||Charles North||Spanish||$$|
1711 N. Charles St., Charles North , 410-332-0110
Tapas restaurants can grow stale, but 10 years in, the food at Tapas Teatro is better than ever. The main menu has grown and evolved, with more choices, particularly among meat and seafood plates, and the specials are dazzlingly good. Read our 2010 review.
|23||Mr. Rain's Fun House||Federal Hill||American (New)||$$|
800 Key Highway, American Visionary Art Museum, 443-524-7379
This excellent contemporary restaurant manages to be both part of a progressive culinary movement and its very own thing. Bill Buszinski's kitchen isn't afraid of displaying flourishes of wit, just not at the expense of flavor. Read more in our review.
|24||Tio Pepe||Mt. Vernon||Spanish||$$$|
10 E. Franklin St., 410-539-4675
Tio Pepe is no longer the most expensive meal in town. A Tio Pepe dinner, though, still feels like a luxury item, bathed in drawn butter, covered with hollandaise, flavored with brandy, and layered with cream and rolled in pine nuts. Read more in our review.
|25||Bluegrass||South Baltimore||American (New)||$$$|
1500 S. Hanover St., 410-244-5101
Tim Dyson took over the kitchen this summer at this laid-back, bourbon-scented headquarters for local, seasonal and snout-to-tail cuisine. By fall, he was serving up hardcore appetizers like trotters and calf's brain alongside roasted baby pumpkin and poached beet salad. Read more.
|26||Kali's Court||Fells Point||Seafood||$$$|
|27||Milton Inn||Sparks||American (New)||$$$|
|28||B&O American Brasserie||Downtown||American (New)||$$$|
|29||b — A Bolton Hill Bistro||Bolton Hill||American (New)||$$|
9515 Deereco Road, Timonium, 410-561-3300
Even after all these years, this county power restaurant still draws the crowds. There's nothing flashy, just comfortable surroundings and reliably good Italian food. Yes, you can end up spending a lot of money, but you won't go home hungry. Read our 2010 lunch review..
|32||Kali's Mezze||Fells Point||Mediterranean||$$|
1606 Thames St., 410-563-7600
Baltimore's tapas scene arrived at full maturity when Kali's Court opened this sidekick restaurant, which some 10 years later is still delighting diners with small plates of savory Greek fare like succulent lamb chops, zesty dips and lemony fresh seafood. Read more.
|33||Fork & Wrench||Canton||American (New)||$$|
2322 Boston St., 443-759-9360
The crowds have found Fork & Wrench. They're enjoying the stimulating "four-star dive bar" vibes in this former Canton warehouse. And they're spreading the word about executive chef Sajin Renae's confident preparations of cosmopolitan tavern fare. Read more in our review.
|34||Ten Ten||Harbor East||American (New)||$$$|
|35||Ethel & Ramone's||Mt. Washington||Cajun||$$|
|37||Chazz: A Bronx Original||Harbor East||Italian||$$|
2360 W. Joppa Road, Suite 116, Lutherville-Timonium
The traditional bistro menu at Tark's Grill is as conservative as it gets. But here's the twist: Everything Tark's does, it does well. The Green Spring Station restaurant has earned loyalty with an old-fashioned commitment to good, consistent service. Read our 2008 review.
|39||Heavy Seas Alehouse||Little Italy||American (New)||$$|
1300 Bank St., 410-522-0850
There are so many things to admire about this Little Italy warehouse restaurant, most of all the smartly conceived menu from executive chef Matt Seeber. It's instantly appealing and accessible, and it's executed with confidence. The beer, of course, is great. Read more in our review.
|40||Clementine||Northeast Baltimore||American (New)||$$|
5402 Harford Road, 410-444-1497
What a year for Clementine. A second, smaller Clementine opened in Highlandtown, while "Top Chef" alumna Jill Snyder came aboard as chef at the original location, which remains the best for full-family dining in the Baltimore area. Read our 2011 review.
8293 Main St., 410-465-4004
The beautiful Main Street restaurant is now in the hands of Michel Tersiguel, the son of the original owners. To the established roster of escargots and beef bourguignon fish soup, Michel has added seasonal fare and put his own twist on classics. Read more in our review.
4901 Eastern Ave., 410-633-3750
After 43 years, Ikaros moved in August to new digs. Old favorites like pastitsio, moussaka and spanakopita have made the trip, but the location gives owner Xenophon Kohilas new amenities like a fish display and a rotisserie spit for roasting whole lambs. Read more in our review.
|45||City Cafe||Mt. Vernon||American (New)||$$|
|46||Donna's (Charles Village)||Charles Village||American (New)||$$|
|46||Donna's (Cross Keys)||Cross Keys||American (New)||$$|
|47||Maggie's Farm||Northeast Baltimore||American (New)||$$$|
4341 Harford Road, 410-254-2376
Until just recently, this restaurant was known as the Chameleon. The new owners include chef Andrew Weinzirl, who worked with founding chef Jeff Smith during the transition. That's good news for fans of the pioneering farm-to-table restaurant. Read more.
|48||Wit & Wisdom||Harbor East||American (New)||$$$|
200 International Dr., Four Seasons Hotel, 410-576-5800
When it first opened, the showcase restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel impressed with its good looks but left us hungry for things to come. A new chef, Clayton Miller, is now in place. We'll see how it goes, but the bones of a great restaurant are here. Read our original review.
|49||Iron Bridge Wine Co.||Columbia||American (New)||$$$|
405 N. Charles St., 410-625-0534
Riccardo Bosio deftly employs local ingredients in his contemporary preparations of classic Northern Italian cuisine. The pastas are homemade, and dishes like a simple fried polenta with caper aioli and, in season, grilled Portuguese sardines are worth visiting again and again. Read more in our review.
|52||Black Olive||Fells Point||Seafood||$$$|
1993 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Annapolis, 410-349-4000
On its best days, the Severn comes close to the ideal seafood restaurant. There are "no filler" jumbo lump crab cakes, Salvadorian seafood stew and bacon-studded Skuna Bay salmon. The panoramic waterfront view is unbeatable. Read our 2005 review.
|54||Victoria Gastro Pub||Columbia||American (New)||$$|
8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, 410-750-1880
Randy Marriner set out to make his pub a "living room of the community," and he's succeeded. The everyday menu successfully bridges the gap between pretentiousness and pandering with items like roasted quail and fish and chips with an Allagash beer batter. Read more.
|55||Blue Hill Tavern||Canton||American (New)||$$$|
938 S. Conkling St., 443-388-9363
With its spacious dining areas, waterfall-accented bar and swank rooftop lounge, Blue Hill Tavern offers a luxe aesthetic that's in short supply on the east side. The menu includes a variety of attractively sculpted entrees. Read our 2009 review.
|56||Phillips Seafood||Inner Harbor||Seafood||$$$|
177 Main St., Annapolis, 410-267-7700
Arturo Ottaviano's expressive Italian coastal cuisine is an Annapolis favorite. Under dangling chandeliers, customers devour the risotto of the day and innovative fish dishes. Osteria ensures that diners taste old world staples in new ways. Read our 2007 review.
|58||Aida Bistro and Wine Bar||Columbia||Italian||$$$|
6741 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, 410-953-0500
Mary and Joe Barbera care passionately about creating memorable evenings for their diners. They've settled completely into their new location, which boasts an innovative wine-on-tap program and a full-service wine bar. The menu of classic Italian dishes is served with flair. Read more.
|59||Ambassador Dining Room||Tuscany-Canterbury||Indian||$$|
3811 Canterbury Road, 410-366-1484
The Ambassador cossets its diners with gracious service and Old World charm. The Indian food is prepared with great care and served in elegant surroundings, both inside the elegant dining room and outside on a stunningly set patio. Read more.
5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, 443-535-9400
Well lit and enthusiastically decorated, this vegan mecca remains one of the area's prettier suburban restaurants. The servers supply knowledge without preaching, and several entrees defy expectations of vegan cuisine. Read more in our review.
|61||La Scala Ristorante Italiano||Little Italy||Italian||$$$|
1012 Eastern Ave., 410-783-9209
It's not spa cuisine. Think cream sauces, white wine sauces, butter, Marsala wine, Cognac and more cream sauces. But they don't feel heavy at Nino Germano's restaurant, which earns extra credit for expert salumeria and cheese offerings. Read more in our review.
8085 Main St., Ellicott City, 410-720-2330
This lovable Main Street restaurant has succeeded in its goal of appealing to both casual and discriminating diners. Give some credit to chef Keith Holsey for bringing as much skill and care to spaghetti and meatballs as he does osso buco. Read more in our review.
|63||Sascha's 527||Mt. Vernon||American (New)||$$|
725 Aliceanna St., Four Seasons Hotel, 410-223-1460
There's great potential for this good-looking Harbor East restaurant, adjacent to the new Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. Talented executive chef Jonah Kim is shining in this modern take on the Japanese izakaya. Read more in our review.
105 W. Saratoga St., 410-244-8677
Good strong steaming bowls of the Vietnamese soup known as pho are the thing to get at this small family-run downtown restaurant, but there are superb stir fries and beautiful rice paper rolls. Read more in our review.
|67||Carrol's Creek Waterfront Restaurant||Annapolis||Seafood||$$$|
|68||Ruth's Chris Steak House||Pikesville||Steakhouse||$$$|
|70||Miss Shirley's||Keswick||American (New)||$$|
|71||La Tavola||Little Italy||Italian||$$$|
|72||Lebanese Taverna||Harbor East||Lebanese||$$|
719 S. President St., 410-244-5533
This Harbor East outpost of a popular Washington-area restaurant serves up carefully prepared Middle Eastern classics like schwarma, kabobs and braised lamb in a thoroughly modern, waterside setting. The result is stirring. Read more in our review.
|75||O'Learys Seafood Restaurant||Annapolis||Seafood||$$$|
|76||Blue Moon Cafe||Fells Point||American||$$|
|77||Henninger's Tavern||Upper Fells Point||American (New)||$$$|
|78||Regi's American Bistro||Federal Hill||American (New)||$$|
803-805 Frederick Road, Catonsville, 410-788-0075
The constantly changing menu at this intimate Catonsville spot encourages diners to explore by offering big and small plates of regionally inspired cuisine in diverse culinary categories. The consistent results keep them coming back. Read more in our review.
|80||Vin 909 Winecafe||Annapolis||American (New)||$$|
|82||Capital Grille||Inner Harbor||Steakhouse||$$$$|
|83||One World Cafe||Tuscany-Canterbury||Vegetarian||$$|
100 W. University Parkway, 410-235-5777
Located near the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, One World has earned an appreciative following by taking its vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes seriously without smug attitudes. Read more from our review.
|85||Thai Arroy||Federal Hill||Thai||$$|
|86||Mama's on the Half Shell||Canton||Seafood||$$|
|87||Abbey Burger Bistro||Federal Hill||Burgers||$$|
1041 Marshall St., 443-453-9698
The basic burgers, made from locally raised beef, are juicy wonders, and the exotic meats run from venison to alligator. The topping choices are fresh and endless, the waffle fries are awesome and the spiked milk shakes are dandy treats. Read more in our review.
|89||Asian Court||Ellicott City||Chinese||$$|
9180 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 410-461-8388
Asian Court could be the Chinese restaurant we've all been looking for. If you're seeking well-prepared Cantonese and Hunan dishes made with fresh ingredients and careful attention, you'll be consistently rewarded. Plus, there's dim sum on the weekend. Read more in our review.
|90||Christopher Daniel||Lutherville-Timonium||American (New)||$$$|
|91||Crush||Chinaquin Park||American (New)||$$$|
7530 Montpelier Road, Laurel, 301-604-5555
Chef Gino Palma-Esposito's calling card is Neopolitan-style pizza made in wood-burning ovens, but his open kitchen turns out very tasty, generously portioned and thoughtfully assembled appetizers, entrees and pasta dishes, too. Read more in our review.
|93||Havana Road Cuban Cafe||Towson||Cuban||$$|
8 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, 410-494-8222
Marta Ines Quintana's cafe is building on a foundation menu of Cuban fare with more personal touches — fresh yucca with her own mojo sauce; maccarones con bechamel, Cuban-style mac and cheese; and arroz con huevo frito, a Cuban snack of fried egg over rice. Read more in our review.
|94||Hersh's Pizza and Drinks||South Baltimore||Italian||$$|
|96||Orchard Market and Cafe||Towson||Persian||$$|
8815 Orchard Tree Lane, Towson, 410-339-7700
The Persian food still simmers and sizzles beautifully at this family-owned delight. A few dishes, like poached duck in pomegranate-walnut sauce and the stewed leg of lamb with butternut squash and dried plums, have achieved classic status. Read more in our review.
600 Oldham St., 410-675-5292
A cash-only policy, no reservations and a carry-out atmosphere never stop crowds from pouring in. The food is simple, robust and hugely satisfying. Samos' game isn't culinary drama but satisfying diners with good Greek cooking. Read more in our review.
|98||SoBo Cafe||Federal Hill||American (New)||$$|
|99||Zorba's Bar and Grill||Greektown||Greek||$$|
4710 Eastern Ave., 410-276-4484
The main attraction at this Greektown favorite is the charcoal-flame rotisserie, which turns out tender and tasty, simply seasoned lamb chops, marinated pork, chicken and fish. Zorba's Bar and Grill is not so much a full-service restaurant as a neighborhood bar that happens to serve amazing food. Read more.
|100||Woman's Industrial Kitchen||Downtown||American||$$|
333 N. Charles St., 410-244-6450
"Reviving the lunchroom at the Woman's Industrial Exchange sounded like the kind of impossible task issued to heroines in fairy tales, like picking lentils out of the ashes. But Irene Smith ... has pulled off a happy ending." Read more in our review.